tomatoes unsplash

’Against the odds,’ Britain is set for a good quality crop at the normal level, growers have announced

British growers are on track to produce 100,000 tonnes of tomatoes this year, according to the British Tomato Growers’ Association. 

The association described this year’s haul as “against the odds”, but growers said they were expecting a good quality crop at “usual” and expected yield volumes, which typically accounted for around 20% of the tomatoes consumed by Brits annually. 

The trade body said this year’s harvest would be achieved despite the combination of rising energy costs – which led growers to warn of potential shortages in April – alongside the impact of disrupted global supply chains, ongoing labour shortages and low light levels in some part of the country, making 2022 a challenging year for growers.

“British tomato growers haven’t faced anything like this before” said Paul Faulkner of Evesham Vale Growers, which grows tomatoes in Worcestershire. “I’ve been in the sector for two decades and this is the toughest year we’ve faced. It’s been a perfect storm and as a result has been very hard work for everyone across the industry. Covid was tricky but this goes way beyond that. Fortunately, as tomato growers we are a resilient bunch.”

According to Kantar data shared by the association, tomato sales values are up by 2.7% from last year, with demand for premium tomatoes rising 32%. 

Tomato growers have worked with retail partners and suppliers, with some delaying planting and then increasing production later in the year to make the most of better light levels. 

“All this change is no mean feat. It might sound easy but it’s required herculean efforts from British growers” said Julie Woolley, secretary of the British Tomato Growers’ Association.

“Across the nation growers and producers are doing their bit and we know people are looking forward to getting their hands on delicious British tomatoes,” she added. “Now it’s time for government to look at how they can support us too.”